Test Pits in the Bayle – Second Weekend

Volunteers again turned out on 19 & 20 March- two marvellous dry and sunny days – supervised by Richard Cross and Andrew Richardson to carry on with three of the four archaeological test pits in The Bayle, started the previous weekend.

 The path revealed in the garden of Stephen Blundell’s house turned out to be a well constructed pathway belonging to a former parterre garden that can seen on the 1876 Ordnance survey map. Other finds were mostly 19th century but some earlier, including 17th century pottery and clay pipes and deeper still some early medieval pottery. Though the pit was closed up Mr. and Mrs. Blundell were keen for more investigations to be done at a future date.

The pit in Catherine Drion’s garden revealed medieval pottery, limpet shells and a bone handled tool and, at the bottom, signs of a feature together with a refuse pit. This was left open and will probably be extended. The third area of the dig, near the Bayle pond, also produced what might be tiny fragments of human bone, some pieces of pottery and, in a layer of earth, possibly silt in the bottom of the filled in part of the pond, a mass of limpet shells, probably discarded after the contents had been eaten. Terry Biot said of his work on the Bayle pond pit “Though we did not find very much, I have learnt a lot about the process of digging but would like to learn more especially about the application of science to archaeology.” This pit was closed so well and the area tidied up so neatly that one resident said that they could not see where we had been. 

Andrew Richardson of Canterbury Archaeological Trust said “This is a good start to  a project which, with more residents of the Bayle offering their gardens all the time, will result in us digging upwards  of 60 test pits over the next few years, almost certainly  revealing much more about the history of the area which is the ancient heart of Folkestone.”

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